Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the federal government would likely decrease petrol prices in the 2019 federal budget, only weeks before the election.
With gas prices at an eight-year high and Prime Minister Scott Morrison trailing in the polls in the run-up to the election in May, the government has been under pressure to slash fuel excise.
When asked by Nine Entertainment if the government will announce a drop to the 44.2 cents per litre gasoline excise in Tuesday’s budget, Frydenberg said he recognised that petrol prices were a major worry for Australians.
“On Tuesday night, we will provide help for those families who recognise that fuel costs are quite high right now,” he told the broadcaster.
Frydenberg refused to be drawn on specific budget measures the government will take on gasoline, but acknowledged that bowser prices have risen as a result of rising global oil costs.
Petrol recently hit A$2.20 a litre in some Australian cities as global oil prices rise owing to the border impact of the Ukraine conflict.
“Since the beginning of the year, the price of a barrel of oil has increased by 50%. That’s making its way to the bowser at home. We are aware of the pressure “According to Frydenberg.
He predicted that Tuesday’s budget would result in a major material improvement in the government’s bottom line, but he declined to forecast whether a budget surplus would be achieved in the next decade.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison repeated Frydenberg’s remarks, telling reporters in Western Australia that the budget would address Australians’ cost-of-living concerns.
“We know this is biting because of what we’re seeing in Ukraine, the impacts on petrol prices,” he said.
Labor treasury spokesman Jim Chalmers said the opposition sought cost-of-living assistance in the budget to provide a better future for Australians, including on petrol.
“As everyone knows, petroleum is a huge element of the storey,” he told the press.
After the latest Newspoll showed Labor leading the alliance of Liberal and National parties, the government will hope the budget boosts its support.